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In Their Own Words

June 08, 1737

Funding Dilemma Expressed in Diary

The origin of the Georgia movement stressed charity for England’s worthy poor. By 1736, however, the presence of the English settlement at Frederica on land claimed by Spain helped put the two countries on a collision course. As James Oglethorpe directed the building of military fortifications in Georgia, the Trustees found themselves unable to raise the funds needed to support both the civil and military needs of Georgia. In London, the Earl of Egmont recorded in his diary the dilemma faced by the Trustees:

“… I dined with Mr. Verelst, and desired him to represent strongly to Mr. Oglethorp the necessity of obtaining from the Government the putting the expenses of our civil government for the future upon the Establishment, as also the easing us of the burthen [burden] of paying for our military defence, which was never in our thoughts, nor have we a fund for it. Indeed, no many can justly imagine that we should wish so small a sum as will not provide for the wants of our people and the maintenance of a civil government, build forts, maintain garrisons, and defend the King’s title to his dominions. I foresee that unless the Government shall ease us in these matters the members of our Board will gradually forsake us, and we shall be obliged to give up the charter and desire his Majesty to take his own methods for supporting the Colony… .”

Source: U.K. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Diary of the First Earl of Egmont (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1923), Vol. II, p. 413.